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#Maldives: A Police State as the MDP/DRP/DQP drama series continues

Male', Maldives

Maldives is in a state of civic disorder early this morning as President Nasheed turns it into a Police State with strong police and military actions against all democratic institutions. Independent and non-partisan institutions such as the Judiciary, Maldives Human Rights Commission, Prosecutor General's Office and civic bodies have called upon President Nasheed to stop his brutal police and military actions and to uphold law and order in the country.

Maldives Police Service late last night arbitrarily arrested opposition politician Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and held him at the infamous Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre. This is Jameel's second arrest within 48 hours. Police grounds for Jameel's arrest were not stated. Dr. Jameel's re-arrest by police comes within 24 hours of his release by order of the Criminal Court.


Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF) then detained Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed against his will at their Girifushi Training Centre. Judge Abdulla issued the court order last night for Dr. Jameel's release from police arrest. The Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hassan and the Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizzu have called upon the MNDF to release Judge Abdulla. MNDF have refused to do so.


MNDF has been backed by President Nasheed, whose Press Secretary minutes ago told media that the Government does not recognize the authority of the Chief Justice to demand the release of Judge Abdulla.

The Human Rights Commission of Maldives issued a press statement early this morning calling upon President Nasheed to uphold fundamental human rights in the country.

The Maldives Lawyers Association held an emergency meeting late last night due to President Nasheed's arbitrary arrest of two of their ranks, Dr. Jameel and Judge Abdulla.

Media reports are coming in that Chief Justice Faiz is even now in consultative session with the panel of judges of the High Court.

Jumhooree Party Leader Gasim Ibrahim last night called upon President Nasheed not to meddle with the judiciary.

Opposition Adhaalath Party have called upon the Parliament (People's Majlis) to immediately impeach President Nasheed.

Although opposition MPs are even now active in protesting President Nasheed's violation of the constitutional rights of the populace, the Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid has been resoundingly silent on the issue. Speaker Shahid is a member of DRP, and has been accused (together with DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali) by other parties of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from GMR courtesy of President Nasheed for various favors through Majlis.

To the present hour, while all other democratic institutions have raised their voices in concern at the Government's violation of constitutional rights, there has been no official or unofficial statement by the Parliament which has the primary responsibility of holding the Government accountable to the people. Relevant parliamentary subcommittees such as the National Security subcommittee are headed by President Nasheed's MPs, a possible reason for their silence as the country is turned into a police state. Although Parliament is presently in recess, most MPs are present in the capital Male'.

In other events last night, Maldives police used tear gas and batons to break up civilian protests against President Nasheed for his violation of fundamental rights of free speech and free press.

Last night's clamp down on political opponents and judiciary by President Nasheed comes within weeks of his intimidation of opposition MPs and civic groups. Last month's historic civic protest was used as the pretext for police to storm into several businesses owned by Jumhooree Party Leader and MP for Maamigili (Ari Atoll). The last Parliamentary session for 2011 closed amidst scenes of military action on the parliament floor, removing opposition MPs from Parliament using force.

The free press was next in Nasheed's firing line, threatened by the military in writing in December, not to air any content that may be construed as compromising national security. This was followed by threats from Nasheed's Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair that media which reported third party remarks that could not be substantiated would be closed down. Police took action yesterday to prevent airing of the popular Morning Edition of the DhiFM network, citing use of foul language by a phone-in individual.

Taken together, Nasheed has successfully used his police and military forces against all pillars of a democratic society: parliamentarians, judiciary and judges, civilians, opposing political parties and politicians, and the press. In doing so, Nasheed has effectively made the Maldives a Police State in which civilians, press and all democratic institutions of governance cower under the raised iron fist of the police and military.

Why this should be so can only be understood by stepping away from the nitty gritty of events and looking at Nasheed's infamous "big picture".

Tonight's police actions, the most recent in the spate of daily dramatic episodes engineered by President Nasheed, have helped to sky rocket the popularity rankings of his ex-coalition partners Drs. Hassan Saeed and Jameel of the infamous New Maldives movement. These events have at the same time cast Nasheed as the bad guy against whom the valiant good guys (Hassan Saeed and Jameel) struggle against all odds. A fitting picture to launch and position New Maldives (and their ally DRP) for a successful bid for the presidency.

The New Maldives movement was created by Drs. Saeed, Jameel and Ahmed Shaheed to spearhead a Brutus like attack on then President Gayoom from within his own cabinet ranks. Fortunately for Gayoom, his experienced cabinet ranks led by the likes of Ismail Shafeeu (Defence Minister), Abdulla Kamaludeen (Home Minister) and Hamdhoon Hameed (Planning Minister) could not be infiltrated by the would-be king and kingmakers.

With their cover about to be blown, New Maldives scampered into an Axis alliance with MDP and Adhaalath, exiting the Gayoom government in a flurry of personal allegations against Gayoom. The partners in the Axis Tripartite Pact proceeded to successfully defeat Gayoom by taking away his votes on three central issues: human rights (MDP), religion (Adhaalath), and opportunities for educated youth (New Maldives).

The reality on the ground in the Maldives at present is that neither MDP nor DRP can garner enough votes from amongst the voting middle ground in 2013. MDP, a total loss as a government, has to accept a secondary position in a coalition if it is to remain as part of the next government in 2013.

Nasheed's first choice of ally, the country's second largest party DRP, is sinking slowly but surely after Gayoom's departure. However, DRP is no longer an option for Nasheed on its own as it is unlikely to win votes even close to the number of its registered membership. This is a reality that DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen himself has accepted as evidenced by his negotiation of the transfer of his frontline player Thoddoo MP and DRP Deputy Leader Ali Waheed (Boom-boom Ballack) and his financiers to Nasheed's MDP. What was left in the game plan was for new Tripartite Axis powers (MDP/DRP/DQP) to launch DQP as their clean cover image in order to contest Gayoom's PPM and Adhaalath Party in the middle ground.

Tonight's events show that PPM has well and truly been routed in the political arena, docilely leading its grass roots by the nose to DQP's support. PPM has contributed heavily to its own political loss by actively building grass roots support for DQP in Male' and the islands. The MDP/DRP/DQP master plan is self evident to any school child when one considers that PPM's leaders have been more vocal than the whole of DQP and DRP combined in publicly stating accusing Nasheed and his government of an anti-Islamic agenda. Yet, only DQP and DRP politicians are summarily arrested by Nasheed's police.

It is difficult to believe that seasoned politicians such as PPM Interim Leader Gayoom and council members Abdulla Yaameen and Ilyas Ibrahim would have fallen into such an evident trap to erode their increasing vote base in the political middle ground. After all, this same strategy had been used against them in 2008. Hence, the more logical explanation is that PPM's activist leadership is perhaps moving independently, or even against their experienced counsel.

Additionally, it again brings into the limelight the weight of Adhaalath Party as a moderate political force with the seasoned political thinking to focus on bringing law and order to the country through legal means. Adhaalath however has no vote in Parliament and needs to rely on other political parties to implement its call. It will be an interesting testament to its coalition building powers if, although not in Parliament, it is able to lead an impeachment motion against Nasheed.

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